4 Steps to Learn to Lead Climb

learn to lead post - TBTop-roping and bouldering is fun, but to take your climbing to the next level, you’ll need to learn to lead climb. We recommend learning this in the gym, using a TRUBLUE Auto Belay. Remember, lead climbing is a skill and takes practice so be patient learning each step, and most importantly, have fun. Here it is: learn to lead climb in 4 easy steps.

Four Steps to Learn to Lead Climb

1. Learn how to clip:

Practice this while on the ground before taking it up on the wall. Two options:

  • 1) Snap Clip: Pinch the rope between your thumb and pointer finger. Control the quickdraw with your middle finger and use your thumb and pointer finger to push the rope through the gate.
  • 2) Pinch Clip: Drape the rope over your pointer finger. Control the quickdraw by pinching it between your thumb and middle finger and push the rope through the gate with your pointer finger.

2. Practice clipping with a TRUBLUE:

One of the easiest and safest ways to learn to lead climb is while clipped into an auto belay. The TRUBLUE acts as your belayer while you practice and get more comfortable with lead climbing. Get up on a wall and practice clipping using both the snap and pinch clips.

3. Practice falling:

Falling is scary, and potentially dangerous, so you’ll want to find an experienced belayer and practice taking falls. Start small on easy routes and work your way up to larger distances on harder climbs.

4. Continue to practice clipping, climbing, and falling until you feel comfortable.

Lead climbing is super fun and adventurous, but it’s important to be prepared. Keep practicing and be safe out there.

Still confused about lead climbing? Watch the video of Boulder Rock Club’s Chris Wall demonstrating these steps.

 

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Stay in Climbing Shape for Winter With the 8-week Reach Your Peak Program

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It’s that time of year. The weather has turned cool enough to thwart your outdoor climbing ambitions but you want to avoid the weight-gain and fitness loss that can come from a long winter. We’ve got you covered—if you have a climbing gym with an auto belay nearby, you can stay in peak shape with Reach Your Peak, our free, self-guided 8-week training program.

What’s Reach Your Peak?

Reach Your Peak is an eight-week training program that utilizes the TRUBLUE Auto Belay to help climbers improve their skills and reach their personal fitness goals. If your goal is general fitness, the program gets you in the gym. If you are a new climber, the program will give you weekly goals to help you improve technique, build strength, develop confidence, and become a better climber. If you’re an experienced climber, the program will help you commit to a routine to work on routes, refine technique, and keep up your momentum and fitness level leading into next season.

Reach Your Peak is designed to help climbers of any level improve overall health, improve endurance, rebound from life changing events such as pregnancy or injury, and enhance existing skill-sets. Of course, there are other unintended side effects that have been seen from following this program, including:

  • Healthy weight-loss
  • Overall feeling of increased “coolness”
  • New-found passion for climbing
  • Toned and strong physique
  • Increased popularity from making new friends at the gym
  • Less tired and sluggish at work
  • Better sleep

How Reach Your Peak Works

Reach Your Peak is a free, downloadable program, meaning you can start when you choose and do the assignments at your own pace and on your own time. Find a partner to keep you motivated or tackle it solo. The program utilizes TRUBLUE Auto Belays so you don’t need a partner or belayer. Each week has a general focus, with related homework to help you progress. Click here to download the program.

Week 1 is about setting goals and determining your current climbing abilities. You’ll be asked to evaluate yourself and keep a journal to track your progress.

Week 2 is about taking your previous weeks’ assessment  and stepping it up a notch. You’ll be asked to practice foot placement through traversing and climbing doubles.

Week 3 is split up—beginners learn to lead climb and advance climbers traverse the entire gym twice (and then practice lead climbing in the homework).

Week 4 is about going back to the beginning and putting it all together, working your way up in difficulty after each successful route, but upping the difficulty by also incorporating a lead rope.

Week 5 is about red-pointing, or picking a route above your skill level and working it repeatedly.

Week 6 is about mastering last weeks’ challenge route, eventually doing two laps consecutively.

Week 7 is about taking your challenge route up a notch, this time aiming for three consecutive laps.

Week 8 is testing day, repeating week one lessons to see how far you’ve come.

How To Incorporate Reach Your Peak Programs Into Your Climbing Gym

Even through Reach Your Peak can be done as an individual training program, it transfers perfectly to a group activity. If you’re a climbing gym owner and want to run a Reach Your Peak program, all you need is an instructor (or two), a signup process, and targeted marketing. It works best to have the group meet weekly at the gym to talk about that days’ lesson plan, then set everyone loose to do their work, while the instructor checks in on everyone. Then gather at the end of the time to discuss what everyone should do for homework until the next meeting.

Ok, enough talking. Let’s get started—who’s with us? Download Reach Your Peak today.

 

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Demo a TRUBLUE Auto Belay Today!

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Are you interested in TRUBLUE Auto Belays, but hesitant? Are you not quite sure how auto belays would be received in your facility? Do you want to order TRUBLUEs but would like to see the hard data before you commit? Sounds like you’re a perfect candidate for risk-free 60-day demos to see for yourself.

How Does The TRUBLUE Demo Program Work?

The demo program is quite simple. Let us know you’re interested, sign the basic demo agreement and we’ll send you the devices (you read that right – you can get as many TRUBLUEs as your space allows). At the end of the demo period, either pay for the devices and keep them or send them back. We’ll even cover the cost of shipping both ways.

So It’s Risk and Cost-Free?

That’s right. Head Rush Tech assumes all the risk for the demo program. You pay nothing unless you keep the devices. We’re so confident in our products and their revolutionary eddy current magnetic braking technology that we’ll put our money where our mouths are. We’ll assume this risk because we know you will see how the TRUBLUEs can help increase revenue, mitigate risk, and satisfy customers.

How To Sign Up

If you’re ready to sign up for a 60-day demo or want to learn more, click the link here and fill out the form or just give us a call!. What are you waiting for?!

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TRUBLUE Featured on a Challenge Course on Brazilian Reality Show

We keep talking about how to use a TRUBLUE Auto Belay outside of a climbing gym, and today we’re back with another option. On a recent episode of Brazilian reality show, A Fazenda (The Farm), participants had to complete an obstacle course – most of it several feet off the ground. It’s common to have participants in activities like this harnessed and strapped to prevent serious falls, but this is one of the first times we’ve seen a TRUBLUE serve as the protection mechanism.

From what I can tell (the show isn’t in English), it’s similar to Survivor or other reality shows, where contestants live together, making meals, making friends and in some cases, making enemies, with the final contestant winning a cash prize. They then have challenges – in this episode it was an challenge course – to complete. The course was made of tires and metal structures that contestants had to climb on, around and over. They were wearing full-body harnesses with a dorsal attachment for the TRUBLUE. This application is perfect because as contestants climb, the webbing retracts with them (no extra ropes to deal with) and as they climb down or jump down, they have a controlled descent. To make this work, the TRUBLUE is mounted to a cable running over the obstacle course. As the contestant moves through the course, the TRUBLUE is always above them.

Start watching at about the 42 minute mark to see the TRUBLUE in action. At 43:02, you can watch the first contestant jump from the top of one structure down to the next, gracefully carried by the TRUBLUE. Just after 48:15 you can see the real benefit of a TRUBLUE in this application – possibly preventing injury when slipping. The TRUBLUE portion of the show ends around the 58 minute mark. Enjoy the show!

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Power Linemen Schools Using TRUBLUEs to Train Utility Pole Climbers

DSC_0052Designed for climbers, the TRUBLUE Auto Belay is perfect for climbing gyms, rock walls and camps, but as we’ve talked about recently (see the unique uses for TRUBLUE post here), this technology has far more applications than just recreation. Here at Head Rush, we’re exploring using TRUBLUEs in more varied settings, like to teach linemen to climb and self-arrest.

Linemen, or the people who climb utility poles, are responsible for installation and making repairs so that we can have reliable electricity in our homes and businesses. This job is dangerous. There are hundreds of linemen schools around the country that teach not only how to work on the power lines, but how to climb. In years past, linemen were taught to free climb. These climbers learned how to climb utility poles, how to recover themselves if they started to fall and how to stay as safe as possible while working. Nowadays, there is a shift toward using fall protection devices, which some say takes away the skill of climbing.

DSC_0075After watching the shifts in the industry, veteran linemen teacher Scott Meinecke decided to adapt his program to not only teach the basics of linemen work and climbing, but to put more importance on learning fall-arrest. While the hope is that no one falls while climbing these utility poles, either in school or in the field, it does happen. Linemen lose their footing, or balance, and have mere moments to arrest the fall and hopefully walk away from the incident without serious injury. Scott realized how vital fall arrest is for successful linemen and went searching for a solution to help. He found TRUBLUE Auto Belays. 

This use of TRUBLUEs is new and unique, but showing signs of real promise. With nearly limitless cycle counts and a delayed catch, the modular TRUBLUE allows students to build the skills to climb and the muscle memory to self-arrest so they can employ those skills when they need them most. Here’s what Scott had to say about using TRUBLUEs in his classes:

The key difference [between TRUBLUE and other auto belay systems] is that the initial fall catch is delayed – in essence, a climber falls as if nothing were attached for the first few feet until the device gently arrests the fall and lowers them slowly to the ground. This allows the climber to develop the self-arrest skill. It forces my students to once again develop the proper climbing techniques that will result in a better, more confident climber!”

To learn more about using TRUBLUEs in this industrial setting and see more thoughts from Scott Meinecke on why TRUBLUEs are changing the linemen industry, click here.

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Announcing CE Certification for TRUBLUE XL

TBXL-device-new label - web The TRUBLUE XL Auto Belay has received final certification for European safety standard BS EN 341 for personal protective equipment against falls from a height specific to descender devices.

TRUBLUE XL will now join the standard TRUBLUE Auto Belays as fully CE certified, a mandatory standard certifying that the TRUBLUE has met European Union safety, health and environmental protection requirements. With the final approval of CE certification, we are now able to provide copies of the official certification upon request.

Click here to learn more about the TRUBLUE line of products, the international safety standards they meet and all our other products with CE certification.

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Not Just For Climbing Gyms: 5 Unique Ways to Use an Auto Belay

Mount your QUICKjump and TRUBLUE side-by-side

Mount your QUICKjump and TRUBLUE side-by-side

An auto belay – the device that slowly lowers you to the ground without help from another person – is synonymous with climbing. Not anymore. An auto belay can be used for any instance where you need to get down to the ground in a reliable, comfortable, and controlled way. This could be an intentional descent, like to get down from a zip line platform, or as a safety-device to prevent falls. Broadening the definition of auto belay in this way means the applications are endless.

Here are five unique ways to use an auto belay:

1. Mount it next to a QUICKjump to give people an option for their descent off a platform – great for zip lines, ropes courses, amusement parks or recreation centers. Some people prefer a more relaxed descent compared to the thrill of the QUICKjump, so why don’t you offer another alternative? Using a TRUBLUE Auto Belay next to your QUICKjump lets people choose what kind of descent experience they want.

2. Put one on a treehouse, or a tree that your kids like to climb, or a backyard jungle gym. Treehouse Masters on Animal Planet did a camp-themed treehouse recently and put a TRUBLUE on a small climbing wall for the kids. {Check out the Behind the Scenes clip here.}

3. Forget climbing, use one to learn to repel like the Boy Scouts do. The idea is the scouts are clipped into the TRUBLUE while actually practicing a repel down the wall. If they make a mistake, the TRUBLUE catches and slowly lowers them to the ground.

4. Use it to reduce risk in industries working with heights. Tree climbers, window washers, linemen, construction crews – anyone who goes up high could benefit. TRUBLUEs are modular and easy-to-install, meaning they can move as your project progresses. Anytime you’re up high, with a risk of falling, consider mounting a TRUBLUE as a risk mitigation strategy.

5. Take your dog for a walk. We don’t recommend this, but hey, it worked for this guy.Dog Walk

How are you using an auto belay? Share your creative applications in the comments. 
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Treehouse Masters on Animal Planet Features TRUBLUE on a Treehouse

treehouse-masters-drlEven though we usually see TRUBLUEs on climbing walls or in gyms, the opportunities for this revolutionary device are much more diverse. Like on a treehouse.

Treehouse Masters on Animal Planet recently featured a TRUBLUE Auto Belay on a custom treehouse build. They chose the TRUBLUE not only because it served a need within the treehouse, but because its a unique and awesome product worthy of their high-end designs.  The summer camp-themed treehouse constructed by Pete Nelson and crew is equipped with a dinner bell, bunk room and Native American-inspired art. The key feature – in our humble opinion – is the rock wall outfitted with a TRUBLUE Auto Belay. Simple operation makes the TRUBLUE perfect for any age treehouse visitor and parents have peace-of-mind knowing their family is using the best auto belay.

Not just for kids, treehouses are gaining in popularity, but these aren’t the types of treehouses you might be imagining. Multi-level and multi-purpose, these can cost as much as a small house (or a big house, depending on your design). But there is still room for a TRUBLUE in your more modest backyard treehouse. Maybe it’s just a platform in the trees accessed by handholds and a TRUBLUE to get down. The sky is the limit with your treehouse, but don’t forget to plan for a TRUBLUE!

Do you want to see the Treehouse Masters rock wall and TRUBLUE in action? Check out the behind the build video below to see this treehouse and how they have uniquely incorporated a TRUBLUE.

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3 Climbers Who Are Changing the World

Source: Elevation Outdoors | Brady Robinson on K7 in Pakistan by Jimmy Chin

Source: Elevation Outdoors | Brady Robinson on K7 in Pakistan by Jimmy Chin

Here at Head Rush, we are always looking for ‘good news’ types of stories to share – stories that showcase the sport of climbing. Instead of the usual best places to climb or gear you must have, today we want to pass along an article from Elevations Outdoors about three climbers who have dedicated their time and lives to not only grow the sport, but change the world in the process. Here’s a bit about the three climbers featured in that article:

Phil Powers is passionate about climber safety and is working on instituting a standardized climber safety practices covering belaying, visual and verbal cues and how to increase safety at every level of climbing. Even though the safety curriculum is still being developed, Powers is making some real headway on turning this into a reality.

Brady Robinson, executive director at The Access Fund, is passionate about land use and policies about where climbers can climb, including both public and private property. Not only is Robinson working to ensure legal places to climb, he’s passionate about conservation education, making sure climbers are being respectful stewards of the rocks and surrounding lands.

Ken Yager works tirelessly to keep Yosemite National Park clean, from trash left behind by visitors to picking up behind construction sites. Since catching up on old trash, Yager and his volunteers simply work to keep things tidy and have expanding their efforts into removing invasive species, trail removal and educating the public how to minimize their footprint on these lands.

To learn more about these wonderful representatives of the sport of climbing, check out the full Elevations Outdoors article.

And to everyone out there helping make your communities a better place, we appreciate all that you do. Keep up the great work and let us know about your efforts in the comments.

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3 Reasons You Want a TRUBLUE on Your Modular Climbing Wall

A modular climbing wall is a climbing structure that is both fun to climb and easy to maintain, making them ideal for playgrounds, schools, resorts, entertainment centers, camps and fitness facilities. Join our sister company, Eldorado Climbing Walls, for a webinar they recently held for those considering a modular climbing wall for their facility:

Here are the top three reasons why incorporating a TRUBLUE Auto Belay system into your modular climbing facility will help you increase revenue while reducing costs and risk:

TRUBLUE AUTOBELAY MEETS ALL SAFETY STANDARDS

The most important reason to have an auto belay on your modular wall is to reduce human error. With a TRUBLUE, there’s no need for a human belayer. Our TRUBLUE auto belays are designed for climbers and engineered for effectiveness. Click here to see the International Safety Standards TRUBLUE meets.

AUTO BELAYS SAVE YOU MONEY

An important reason to install auto belays on your modular wall is because it will maximize your ROI and functionality. On a modular wall the climber to staff ratio with an auto belay is much higher than with a manual belay, where you’ll need to staff each lane. With an auto belay, you only need enough staff to effectively supervise your wall – usually less than half of what you would need with human belayers on all lanes. Since you are able to reduce the number of people monitoring the climbing wall, you will cut down drastically on staffing costs. Check out this video to see how TRUBLUEs can improve your guest experience and operating costs, and download the Mid Air Adventures Case Study.

 

TRAINING ON A TRUBLUE IS EASY AND FUN FOR ANY LEVEL CLIMBER

Having a TRUBLUE Auto Belay is great for any level of climber who wants to get in a good workout or just have a good time climbing. Training on the TRUBLUE is perfect because you don’t have to coordinate with a belay partner. You can climb on your own schedule! Here’s a great video from ABC Kids Climbing in Boulder, CO on how they use the TRUBLUE to train champions:

 

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